Monday, April 29, 2013

How To Enjoy Campfire Smoke, the Bob Cat and the Breakfast Tree

Psalm 104:21 The young lions roar after their prey, And seek their food from God.

It was a gorgeous camping day in July high in the Colorado Rockies – the sun was burning off the overnight mist and the scent of the pine trees was surrounding us. The smell of wood smoke from our camp fire gave our clothes the most wonderful scent. We cleaned up the breakfast dishes, remarking how everything tastes SO much better when consumed at 10,500 feet in elevation.

With our back packs, picnic lunch, water and hiking sticks ready and our clothing layered we were ready to drive to the area we planned to hike. And up we drove. Pinecones, pine needle carpets, vertical road bed of brownish red dirt and QUIET. The sunshine and blue, azure blue skies were peeking through the woods.
Mick  found a higher yet relatively flat area that looked great on the topo maps he’d printed out and we had the GPS coordinates, so we were all set.

After parking the 4 Runner we took off cross country into the beautiful piney green forest.

“Jo, stop – over your left shoulder is a bob cat!”

I cautiously began to dig in my pack trying to grab the camera while I glanced to my left, sure enough, there was a gorgeous bob cat. She sat with her ears perked forward looking straight at us.

“Why isn’t it sauntering away from us?”

Just then the cat took off at a run parallel to us and ran to the base of an evergreen – something else kept running right up the tree.

“Do you think we interrupted its breakfast? I was thinking that the cat had treed a squirrel – but it sure was a fat one….

“Honey, look, she has a kitten….”

Sure enough back over to my left we saw a tiny replica of the mama’s  light grayish white with darker spots and those pointy little tufted ears. No wonder she didn’t run from us with her baby there too.

“Did we make them miss their breakfast?”

The mama and her little one stayed there staring at us but not long enough for me to find the darn camera and get their photo. Soon they just disappeared into the trees with an occasional meow and trilling throat noise.
“Mick, let’s go and see what she treed.”

“Oh, NO, it wasn’t breakfast – look Hon, there is ANOTHER kitten up in the tree!”

My mind started going really fast….if we stayed and the mama got too far away this little one might be abandoned. We needed to get out of there fast so she’d come back and not leave this baby. Oh, but I wanted a photo.

“Snap that picture and let’s get out of the way here.” Mick put his arm around me and pointed the direction he wanted us to go.

We took off at a brisk pace for a meadow just beyond the trees and the “chatter” began, a deep throated meow/purr combination answered by the tiniest little “mew”. Then mama gave her gargling call again and I don’t think it was just wishful thinking on my part – it sounded like it was getting closer to the little “mew”.
We couldn’t see the tree where the kitten was but from the calling and responses it was evident that mama and baby were soon reunited. This beautiful bob cat and her twin kittens!

After about an hour’s walk there were no felines to be seen when we arrived back at the “breakfast tree”.
“There’s a place not too far from here where I wanted to stop for a tailgate picnic, you up for that?”

“Sure Mick, can’t believe we saw those cats and that I never did get a good photo.”

We got into the truck and as we began to drive further on the dirt road we saw more twins. This time a mama deer and her two little ones with their spots still adorning their coats jumped out in front of the truck.

“STOP, let me get their picture…” I stumbled out just in time for them to disappear into the trees.

This was not my camera day.

The picnic couldn’t have been more delicious and we were into the truck and off exploring again.

“I don’t believe it – look over to the right side of the road, there is a doe and another set of twins!”

This time they ran before I could even get the door open. The whole world was camera shy that day. We were to find out that even the photo of the treed kitten didn’t come out unless you really used your imagination BUT we had these pictures permanently printed on our minds. We have never had another day in the woods where we saw 3 sets of twins. Must have had something to do with the climb we made to 11,000 feet and the fact that we saw no other trucks or people during our adventures that camping trip.
We have seen various bob cats since then but none has even had one kitten with them, never mind twins. That was an incredible blessing we won’t ever forget.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved use giving proper credit only!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Jesus, Healer of My Heart


The year had been a really rough one. Divorce, that I never dreamed would happen, did. I ended up doing what secular counselors would say was terribly unwise. After prayer, I felt that the Lord was leading me into short term missions which meant moving away from my good friends and church home, leaving the job I had worked at almost 10 years and going to Texas, where I didn’t know  a soul. I began Youth With a Mission, Discipleship Training School and a most incredible time of healing in the Lord.

There I was with a group of people who were, for the most part, about 10 years younger than I was. We were having a meeting at the house of the married leaders of our group. It was a wonderful time of seeking the Lord and prayer. It was my turn in the “hot seat”. As various members of the group laid hands on me, I closed my eyes.

While my eyes were closed, I saw a picture of a heart.  Not the anatomical one but a heart shaped like a Valentine. There was a bench seat on top of the heart and Jesus was taking a seat there, the heart had a jagged crack running diagonally across the whole “Valentine”. As they prayed I realized it was my heart. I felt impressed that if I kept Jesus enthroned in my heart that I would be healed totally. As Jesus sat down, the brokenness disappeared from top to bottom.

Psalms 51: 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

In the situation my heart was broken and the Lord move in. He put my broken pieces back together better than they had been in the first place.

He was enthroned in my heart and did His most incredible work in me during the ensuing weeks and month.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever.

Through this trauma, I came to know the reality of these scriptures and God’s most incredible faithfulness.
I have assurance that He will be there for you also, if you just let Him!

 (C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved - use giving proper credit only.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wonderful book written by my friend, Yvonne Blake!

Yvonne will be giving away a free copy of A Home for Phoebe at the end of the month, drawing a name from those whose comment on the blogs or on her author page on Facebook.!/YvonneBeverlyBlake

Following is a mini picture of the life of the author who lives in Maine.

A Winter’s Day in Maine with Yvonne Blake

6 AM – Morning coffee with my husband before he goes to work.

7 AM – Bible reading and emailing out a Morning Hymn

8 AM – Writing, researching, blogging, emailing, face-booking, etc.
(put wood in the stove)

9 AM – Quick sweep through the house, clean the kitchen, bathroom, etc.

10 AM – Walk to the mailbox, visit with the neighbors or grandchildren
(put wood in the stove)

12 AM – Lunch with my husband

1 PM – Knitting, reading, word puzzles, or jigsaw puzzles

2 PM – More writing, researching, emailing, face-booking, etc.
(put wood in the stove)

3 PM – Errands, phone calls from children and grandchildren, start supper

4 PM – Afternoon coffee with husband (He can put wood in the stove now.)

5 PM – Suppertime

6 PM – Church meeting or watch television with my husband

7 PM – Post pictures of grandchildren, play a few turns of Scrabble

9 PM – Ready for bed with my flannel sheets

Zeke's peddler wagon is coming down the road! I wonder what he has today. Zeke hops down from his seat, wearing a floppy hat and a gray coat, with sleeves much too short for his arms. His eyes sparkle and his mustache twitches, and he seems as tall as a weather vane on the top of the barn. Removing his hat, he bows low. “Well, good day, folks. What can I help you with ? This here is a regular gen'ral store on wheels! Anything you want or need - I have it. Needles or tubs, buttons or pans - jewelry and fancy perfume, too!" As you walk around the strange wagon, your eyes widen with wonder. There are pans, kettles, tools, and things you never saw before. Through the back door, you can see bolts of cloth, kegs, wash tubs, and hundreds of little boxes. Follow Zeke from blog to blog, and at each spot you'll find something new.

Yvonne Blake

The next blog featuring this book will be that of Joy Bach :

What Does Salvation Mean to a Christian?

What Does Salvation Mean to a Christian?

Psalm 18:46 The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.

Could I say that life was good? It should have been. I really did enjoy working as an RN after several times of changing majors in college I finally found one which “fit”. I loved biology, science and people. I remember back to the time I was five and my sister was in the hospital for a prolonged period of time. She had polio before the vaccine and before the big epidemic of 1952 and no one was sure how to treat her disease. We came to visit and she was sobbing. Seems that no one answered her call light and she wet her bed, she was then told if she didn’t stop crying her mom and dad would never come to see her again. As she sobbed out her trauma to us it became permanently etched in my heart and mind. This was the main reason I finally ended up in my chosen career of nursing. I remembered and wanted to make a difference for my pediatric patients, one that my sister hadn’t been fortunate enough to have with her nurse.

I was married to a guy I thought the world of but we were partying too much. We drank each and every day. When we tried to quit for a week we made it only a day and a half. Wine coolers, booze in the blender with ice cream calling it desert, mixed drinks loud music and friends who did the same. I was a mean drinker and would zero in to slice up “friends” with my tongue. The next morning I always felt terrible about what I had said the night before.

Tom and I had lived together 2 years before getting married and had been pretty heavily into smoking marijuana too but had quit that when he decided to go back to school. He noticed that friends who were doing any kind of drugs lacked serious motivation in college. He was maintaining a straight A average.
I was a professing atheist. In retrospect I was professing “there is NO God” a bit too loudly.

Our marriage was stressed with me working 6 days a week, all the drinking we were doing and the fact that I became a “mean” drunk. One of the gals I worked with was a born again Christian. She knew not to talk to me about her Jesus but would tell me about her friends at church and what they did. It was evident from her smile and care for her patients that she knew how to love. She patiently listened to me telling her how I thought that smarter beings from other planets came here and did things on earth with and for the people who lived here. They taught us etc. She would always gently tell me that she hadn’t found what I was talking about as truth.

I got to the point where I was really seeking some answers. I had been into Eastern religions, transcendental meditation, astrology, and things which were really into the occult. It came to the point where I was praying to the god I didn’t believe existed. Crying out and telling him I had made a real mess of my life and asking him to forgive me, to take over the control of my life as I was really making terrible choices yet never seemed able to change.

The Lord Jesus Christ met me where I was. To say he changed me would be a total understatement. I sensed a lifting of a weight that had pressed me down for years. I got a Bible and began reading, devouring the Word. Within 3 weeks the Lord had pulled me feet first out of the bottle of alcohol I lived in without going through any withdrawals. I was a serious alcoholic and totally set free. I began to be kind to my friends. My mouth which had been filled with profanity became cleaned up. I quit swearing and realized I had a choice in vocabulary.

God began showing me a bit of my feminine side that I had lost touch with for years. I actually bought a couple “granny” dresses at a garage sale and enjoyed wearing them.

At first I wouldn’t go to church but attended a Bible study that the gal at work invited me to. I learned and asked dozens of questions and studied every spare moment.

God helped me to enjoy my best friend’s infant son. I remember spinning around the front yard holding him and singing to Jesus. I was clean and forgiven. Jesus Christ had set me free and made me new, different, whole. I began to get a glimpse of the fact that He really did have a plan for me and purpose.

That was now over 38 years ago. Walking with the Lord has been a challenge and dynamic that I never regret. I am still learning and growing. Coming to salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ is the single most incredible things which I have ever experienced. It was His sacrifice on Calvary which paid that price I couldn’t pay. He is God and sinless so He could effectively die in my place for all the times I had broken His heart. I had to ask His forgiveness, believe He was God and accept His death on my behalf.
Salvation, can there ever be a more perfect love than that which Jesus has for you and for me?

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved - use giving proper credit only.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

“This May Be the Last Time” Isn’t Just a Song

Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

The view is totally gorgeous-evergreens and rocks scattered in the grassy hillside where I am. I look over one way to the golden yellow aspens shaking and quaking in the bright September sunlight. Beyond those trees are mountains and more mountains against the backdrop of flawless, intense blue sky scattered with white, puffy clouds.  It is breathtaking here.

There are a few birds flying and a hawk emitting a piercing scream, every once in awhile. The wind is playing with my hair but not strongly enough to even be heard.

There is no sign of civilization in any direction. We’d hiked a couple of miles to this place and I decide to read. Yes, the library book and glasses are in my fanny pack. My husband goes on to do some exploring while I sit with the welcome sunlight warming my back.

The place exudes peace. God’s hand has certainly touched this area of our world. My companions are a few ants crawling on the rocks.

Then I begin to have chest pains. Glancing in the direction Mick has gone I see nothing but a little dot moving through the valley below me. He is too far away to hear me call. How can he get back in time to take me to medical help? How can we walk out?

Where are those antacids? I find the package in my fanny pack and pop one into my mouth.

Being a retired RN I know that sometimes esophageal spasms mimicked actual cardiac problems and vice-versa.

I swallow. I could shoot my pistol and that would surely get Mick’s attention but the amount of time it would take him to get back to me, never mind how long it would take us to walk out, was scary. For us, “over the hills and through the woods” will be a reality and not just part of a childhood song.

Yet, I am strangely at peace; forgiven and set free after years of trauma and drama in my life. If this is my time to meet Jesus “face to face”, I am ready. The setting is indescribably beautiful. Should I shoot to try to get Mick’s attention?  How long should I wait to see if the antacid is going to “fix” the problem because if it does, then I will know it is not cardiac.

The prayer that passed my lips is something eloquent like “HELP, Lord!”

The sun warms my back and that gripping, gnawing pain in the middle of my chest lets loose.

I take a big breath of the fresh, unpolluted air while thanking God I am alive.  I am thanking God that I am ready, should this have been the timing.  Then, thanking God my hubby doesn’t have to go through anything more traumatic today than leaving me on the mountainside to read my library book.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,[a] for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Titus 3:7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved - use giving proper credit only.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Atheist No More

Atheist No More
Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.
Through a series of events that God had put together, this atheist of nine years found herself praying.  I was praying to the god I wasn’t sure was really there.  Life was a mess. I was hurting those I professed to love. Drinking too much and making terrible choices.
My younger sister has changed tremendously.  I had to ask questions. I scoffed and poked fun at her but underneath that tough exterior I was thoughtful. As soon as I put her on the plane, I found myself at the Christian bookstore, getting the book on Bible prophesy she recommended.
Three weeks after reading the book, my then husband and I had gone for a walk in a nearby park.  I was crying but instead of release, the tears felt muddy as they dribbled down my face. Life was a tangled snarl and I was even more tangled..
Later that day, I found myself getting ready for work, taking a bath and talking out loud, to god, IF he was there.  I needed help.
“I’ve made a wreck of my life.  If you’re there, I need you to forgive me and to have you take over….” This went on for some time. I am not sure what I expected, but nothing “weird” happened.  I felt calm and peaceful, like a huge bounder in a backpack was lifted off my shoulders.
“Hey, JO, are you ok in there, you’ve been in there an hour and a half now?” questioned my husband.
It was then I realized I was sitting in a bathtub filled with stone cold water. But I felt free for the first time ever in my life.
There was a born again nurse’s aide at work. I spoke with her much.  I began to read the Bible.  I still had so many questions:  How did I know this was really the literal Word of God? How could I believe every word? What was just “good stories” and what was real?
Did you really inspire these writers? Is every word literal? Can I trust this book?
I found myself reading in the Old Testament and came across Isaiah 40:22:
“It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in….” (RSV)
Then it “popped into my head” that when we studied history “in 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue” they all thought if he went too far, he’d sail OFF the edge of the earth… this scripture was written way before Columbus.  Yet, whoever inspired this writing knew the earth was a circle and it sounded like he was sitting above that circle.
Next I found Psalms 103:11-12: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is his great steadfast love towards those who fear him, as far as the east in from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” (RSV)
I started thinking about this. If you go north pretty soon you are going south because the earth spins on its axis which is from north to south…
However, if you go east you keep going east forever and never go west. The lights were coming on just like the sun rises each and every morning.  The person who inspired this knew that the earth was a circle and rotated on an axis. Who but God?
Shortly after this I was reading in the New Testament and found two scriptures regarding end times: Matthew 24:40-41 “Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left.” And Luke 17:34-35 (speaking of the same end times event) Í tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left.” (RSV)
I mentally checked this out too – too early in time for electricity in the fields, no night lights so those in the field and grinding had to be in the daytime.  And those asleep, looked like it was nighttime.  Showing the concept of an earth with part of it in day and the rest in night when this event happened.
Again, who but the Lord God knew about this at the time in history when these scriptures were written.
Thank you, Lord God, for caring enough to help me with my “issues” about the Bible.  Thank you for looking upon my converted atheist’s  heart and showing me, answering my questions and giving me much to think about in the years that followed.
I no longer wondered which parts of the Bible were “just good stories” and which were literal. I knew from that day on I could rely on what was written within those incredible and wonderful pages. And I knew that I would have these examples to share with anyone else who was questioning like I was.
How much more could I be loved?  How much more personable could my Lord and savior be? I came to find out that this was just the beginning, the very beginning. All these years later I am still learning and growing and daily thanking my incredible raboni, the Lord Jesus Christ.
(C) Marijo Phelps use giving proper credit only all rights reserved. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

April BIRTHDAY month

I am thinking of some special birthdays that happen in April....Mick's on the 5th, mine on the 12th, Tika (kitty) on the 1st, Hooney (kitty) today, the 19th.... my friend from Junior High on, Rita Hunt the 2nd, my ice skating buddy, Judy Schrank Martin, the 10th. my friend from WAY back, Paula Almaas the 29th.... her daughter-in-law Cherilyn, the 5th, missionary friend from YWAM Patty Bauman, the 17th.... and that is just the few I can name off the top of my head.... posting some photos! Will let you decide who is who...

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Olive drab rubbery wrinkles
Inching along
Hot, belly scorching, gritty sand
Eating half-dead leftovers
From the dusty ground

Eyes occluded with opaque scales
Seeing unclearly
Squishing through
Oozing black slime
The worm barely exists

Thousands of colors
A glistening rainbow
Velvet black, powdery brilliant blue
Frosty white, sunset orange and on
And on

Each uniquely recreated
Free to soar to heights
To dip down
On dew speckled,
Delicate yellow iris petals

And again
From leaf, to stately tree
To crystal sky dressed in purple sunset
Unbound, reborn
A butterfly

Yes, death to SELF
A barely living worm,
To indescribable beauty
As a born again
Uniquely free butterfly

Will you allow Jesus
Into your heart?
To liberate
The butterfly of your soul
In new birth with Him?

Or do you choose
To remain for eternity
Linked in inseparable league

Please come visit my blog at

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Broken by Perfect Love

Apologies ahead of time as I cannot make formatting behave below....

Broken by Perfect Love

Thank You for tears of the years released
For knowledge within my gut
That when all the shaking uncertainty
Jesus alone would be left standing.

Praise You for Your grace,
Which enabled me to place,
The cutting edge of Your Word
To my infected, imperfect soul,
Not to run away with the job half done

For Your incredible love which saw beyond,
 Where the pieces of self, pride, lack of wisdom, unthinking comments and presumption lay
To the possibility of little girl innocence restored
Jesus gently pursued and worked on that task,
Setting me miraculously FREE.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (NIV)

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (NIV)

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (NIV)
He is ABLE, Jesus is SO faithful. All we need to do is ASK. We have not because we ask not so why not take time today and ASK. Do you need salvation? HE will meet you now. Do you need healing? Emotions, deliverance, physical... "by His stripes we are healed...." if that seems to be taking a long time ASK. Ask Him if this is His timing. ASK Him if "His grace is sufficient" in this case. ASK if HE is planning to heal. And then we need to LISTEN - oh, I definitely know it is hard to sit still as the tyranny of the urgent hollers so loudly. But sit we shall to hear that "still, small voice. I know because I definitely struggle also. Am headed right now to have my quiet time and try to SIT with open ears.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved - use giving proper credit only

Please come visit my blog at

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.